Wednesday 22 November 2017

Foreign Affairs Minister calls on North Korea to 'cease all nuclear testing'

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke

Denise Calnan and Jack Hardy

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has called on North Korea to "cease all nuclear testing".

The minister condemned the secretive state's claims that it has conducted its first hydrogen bomb test.

Speaking from New York, Minister Flanagan expressed grave concern about the reports that the nuclear explosive device had been tested yesterday morning.

“This reported test represents a real threat to peace and security in the Korean Peninsula, and the entire North East Asia region, and is a flagrant violation of the DPRK's international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons," he sad.

“The reported test is also a major challenge to international efforts to advance global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, a longstanding goal of Ireland’s foreign policy. 

"Nuclear weapons are never a means to guarantee peace and security; far from it, they pose the greatest threat of all."

A South Korean student wearing a mask depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participates in a rally after the announcement of a hydrogen bomb test (AP)
A South Korean student wearing a mask depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participates in a rally after the announcement of a hydrogen bomb test (AP)

Minister Flanagan said the reported test also "draws into sharp focus" the need for engagement on nuclear disarmament.

North Korean reported yesterday that it had successfully tested a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, a move which would be a significant advancement of its nuclear armoury.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guides the test fire of a tactical rocket in this undated file photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guides the test fire of a tactical rocket in this undated file photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. Photo: Reuters

The move was condemned worldwide, including China who is the regime's main ally.

The UN have said they are drafting further sanctions against the state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a document regarding the test of a hydrogen bomb, in this still image taken from KRT video and released by Yonhap on January 6, 2016. North Korea's state-run television KRT on Wednesday released still photographs of Kim ordering the conduct of a nuclear test
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a document regarding the test of a hydrogen bomb, in this still image taken from KRT video and released by Yonhap on January 6, 2016. North Korea's state-run television KRT on Wednesday released still photographs of Kim ordering the conduct of a nuclear test

But there is already widespread scepticism as to whether the bomb - which created a 5.2 magnitude earthquake when it was tested - is truly a thermonuclear device.

Whereas atomic bombs such as those already tested by North Korea in 2003 and 2009 are powerful weapons, they are nowhere near as devastating as hydrogen bombs.

But this has not stopped the international community from being gripped with alarm over the test, which shows North Korea is another step closer to becoming one of the leading nuclear threats on earth.

Japan has already dispatched H4 training planes to investigate whether the test has unleashed nuclear material in the atmosphere, though initial reports say this is unlikely.

Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, North Koreans were seen "celebrating" the launch as they gathered around TV screens at the capital's rail station.

Several experts have already warned of complacency over Kim Jong-un's actions, with one former British ambassador to the regime urging against assuming he does not have the resolve to launch a nuclear strike.

Online Editors

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